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Keywords:

  • core clinical pharmacy services;
  • outcome measure;
  • future pharmacy needs;
  • pharmacist staffing

We developed a model for the provision of clinical pharmacy services in United States hospitals in 2020. Data were obtained from four National Clinical Pharmacy Services database surveys (1989, 1992, 1995, and 1998) and from the American Health-System Association's 2000 Abridged Guide to the Health Care Field. Staffing data from 1998 indicated that 45,734 pharmacist and 43,836 pharmacy technician full-time equivalent (FTE) staff were employed in U.S. hospitals; 17,325 pharmacist FTEs (38%) were devoted to providing clinical pharmacy services. To provide 14 specific clinical pharmacy services for 100% of U.S. inpatients in 2020, 37,814 new FTEs would be needed. For a more realistic manpower projection, using an evidence-based approach, a set of five core clinical pharmacy services were selected based on favorable associations with major health care outcomes (mortality rate, drug costs, total cost of care, length of hospital stay, and medication errors). The core set of services were drug information, adverse drug reaction management, drug protocol management, medical rounds, and admission drug histories. Implementing these core clinical pharmacy services for 100% of inpatients in 2020 would require 14,508 additional pharmacist FTEs. Based on the current deployment of clinical pharmacists and the services they perform in U.S. hospitals, change is needed to improve health care outcomes and reduce costs. The average U.S. hospital (based on an average daily census of 108.97 ± 169.45 patients) would need to add a maximum of 3.32 pharmacist FTEs to provide these core clinical services (if they were not provided already by the hospital). Using this evidence-based approach, the five selected core clinical pharmacy services could be provided with only modest increases in clinical pharmacist staffing.